Spain’s Rafael Nadal (Player Profile) continues his quest to regain the top spot on the ATP tour when he meets Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber (Player Profile) in the second round of the China Open. It will be their 13th meeting on the ATP tour, with Nadal leading the Head-to-Head 11-1.
The World No. 2 has arguably made a case for one of the greatest comeback seasons in tennis history, with his return to top form after a potentially career-ending knee injury in 2012. He is the only player to hold 2 Grand Slam titles in 2013 (Roland Garros & US Open) and has won a record 5 Masters 1000 titles this season. Rafa became the first player since Andy Roddick in 2003 to clinch the US Open Series (Canada-Cincinnati-US Open trophy).
Nadal has only lost three times in 2013 and has compiled a 62-3 record and remains undefeated on hard court (23-0) this season. He is also 17-1 against top 10 competition this year. The Spaniard has also altered his playing style on court, using a more aggressive style and rushing the net more frequently, adding another dimension to his already complete game.
World No. 25 Phillip Kohlshcreiber has had a contrasting season to that of Nadal. The German has suffered a variety of sicknesses and injuries throughout the year, forcing him out of several tournaments including Rome and Metz. He also failed to achieve his fifth ATP title when he lost to Fabio Fognini in the Stuttgart final in July. His best performance this season came in the US Open where he defeated top ranked American John Isner in the third round before succumbing to eventual champion Nadal in the fourth round. Kohlshcreiber has a 12-9 record on hard court this season.
The stats do not favour an upset in this match-up. The German has only defeated Nadal once in his career (Halle 2012) yet has become slightly more competitive on hard court against the Spaniard, even taking a set off him in their US Open clash in August. While these may be promising signs, Phillip is 0-5 against top ten competition and 0-2 against Nadal this year and is unlikely to end the Spaniards undefeated streak now.